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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  September 3, 2013 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT

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host's prerogative to editorialize. there's no more stupider reason to go to war than fear that people think you're weak. tommy vietor. ben. and eli lake from "newsweek" the and the "daily beast." that's "all in." the "rachel maddow show" starts now. >> that was a stupendous debate. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. it's an unbreakable law of american political science when have a midterm election the president's party loses seats. if you have a democratic president who was elected or re-elected, then two years later when there is the next election, republicans will do really well and vice versa. if you have a republican president who's just been elected or re-elected, then two years later the president's party will lose seats and in
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that case the democrats will do well. it's just the way it goes. every once in a while we defy that but it's basically a rule. in american politics we like the pendulum to swing back and forth between the parties. although we have been trained now for years to think about republican president ronald reagan as a saint, and to think of the reagan years as some sort of ground exception from all things predictable and partisan and even depressing in american politics, that old rule about the midterm elections was also true for the ronald reagan presidency. he won re-election in 1984 by approximately a bazillion, but then in 1986, 2 years later at the midterm elections, it was the other party, the democratic party that did very well. the democrats already have the majority in the house. they picked up five more seats that year. the democrats also picked up eight senate seats and took control of the senate. it was a big, big victory for the democrats. the democrats did great in those midterm elections. and nobody noticed. i mean, the elections had the same practical consequences that elections have, but the story of the democrats' huge victory that
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year was stomped on immediately by a giant scandal that broke in the reagan white house. that mementos midterm election was on november 4th that year. less than two weeks later, this was the cover of "time" magazine. reagan's secret dealings with iran. reagan it turns out was selling missiles to the iranians. toe missiles which are anti-tank missiles. hawk missiles as well which are surface to air missiles designed to blow up planes. ronald reagan shipped over 1,000 missiles to iran in the 1980s. iran. yes. this is after the iranian hostage crisis. this is in the middle of kind of another iranian hostage crisis. this is in the middle of the iran/iraq war when we were supposedly siding with iraq against iran. you cannot send missiles to iran. there's an arms export control act passed by congress signed by the president. actual in place u.s. law which says you cannot send missiles to iran. or any other kind of weapon. president ronald reagan did it anyway. and that was not only mind
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blowing that a u.s. president would secretly do something like that. it was also very plainly illegal. in the uncomplicated sense of their being a law in place that says you cannot do that and he did it anyway, this was not a subtle thing. the president was told he could do this blatantly illegal thing by this man, ronald reagan's attorney general ed meese who argued the president's inherent powers as commander in chief, he could violate any law he wanted to as long as it was related to national security. not only could he violate any law, the president should consider himself authorized to withhold any prior or contemporaneous notice to congress. the president was free to sell missiles to iran, free to do anything he wanted as long as it was related to national security no matter the law. he not only did not have to get permission from congress or anything, he didn't even have to tell congress the stuff that he was doing without telling them at any point. this was some of the real radicalism of the ronald reagan era that we are not supposed to remember now now that we're supposed to think of him as a
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saint. but they called that radical doctrine the unitary executive theory. so, you know, forget everything the constitution says about there being three co-equal branches of government. the president and congress and judiciary all being equal, right? it's the unitary executive. that was the idea. it is a fascinating idea. it has nothing to do with our constitution or our structure of government. it is fundamentally un-american and not at all congruent with the way we are set up as a country, but still, in theory fascinating and radical and what the guys believed. that why reagan secretly shipped missiles to iran and why reagan did not tell congress until he already started invading grenada. whether or not you think the idea of invading the isle of spice was a good idea, nobody's opinion mattered except the president's own opinion, and he did that on his own as if the u.s. army was his personal thing and not the country's. that idea of a president being
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able to make war all on his own, being totally unconstrained by any other part of the government or even by our nation's laws, we have mostly grown out of that as a country. i mean, those guys are still around. you'll recall that dick cheney didn't even want the iraq war brought to congress. either iraq war. dick cheney thought either president bush or any president, even not a bush, could invade iraq or wherever whenever they wanted just on their own say so. so, yeah, dick cheney is still alive, and some of those reagan-era guys are still around, but to their chagrin, the iraq wars did go before congress and congress decided both times that we should go. generally when congress considers matters like this, when they're asked to consider the use of military force, congress can almost always be counted on to say yes, but those debates in congress weren't in public. they were not just one man in the white house arguing with himself in the mirror with ed miese whispering in his ear.
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the public debates about getting involved in wars or using force, those are important moments both for accountability and focusing the country's tension on what ought to be the greatest decisions that we make as a country. when you're voting for congress, when you're voting for president, when you're voting for your senator, it ought to matter to you what that representative of yours thinks about using force. congress is often craven. it is almost always partisan. it is even occasionally just plain dumb or at least easily fooled. but if there is ever a time to get political leaders an the record, as to what they think the country's course of action should be, it is in those debates. and as recently as 2008, we picked a nominee for president who eventually became a two-term president in part on basis of how his rivals for that nomination blew it. how they made the wrong call, the wrong vote when it came time to weigh in on one of those
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wartime debates. >> i was opposed to iraq from the start. i think what the next president has to show is the kind of judgment that will ensure that we are using our military power wisely. >> some people now think that this was a very clear open and shut case. we bombed them for days in 1998 because saddam hussein threw out inspectors. knowing he was a megalomaniac. there were legitimate concerns about what he might do. so i think i made a reason judgment. >> the question is can we make an argument that this was a conceptually flawed mission? from the start. and that we need better judgment when we decide to send our young men and women into war. that we are making absolutely certain that it is because there is an imminent threat, and that is an argument that i think we are going to have an easier time making if they can't turn around and say, but hold on a second,
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you supported this. >> you supported this. mrs. clinton. by 2008, by the time the full scale of the iraq war disaster was clear, a central part of the argument that year for who ought to be the next president of the united states was about who had good judgment about that war. who had been smart enough and far sided enough to know that war was a bad idea. had hillary clinton in the senate voted against that war instead of voting for that war, while barack obama then a state senator was out in the street giving speeches against it at the same time, had she voted no instead of yes, hillary clinton might have had a better chance at winning the nomination for president. and you'll remember that it was a pretty darn close race between obama and clinton. during that campaign, candidate obama made it a central pillar of his appeal. made it a central pillar of his national security and foreign policy platform that the whole
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unitary executive idea was dead. or that it ought to be. he said "the president does not have power under the constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." so the president cannot do it alone. yes. if the country is attacked or we're about to be attacked, in that precisely imminent situation, then yes, the president by necessity will sometimes have to take action on his own. just by virtue of needing the speed to act that quickly. but if we are not being attacked, then no, frankly, it's pretty simple. it has to go through congress. that was how barack obama, the candidate, campaigned for president. and that is where barack obama, the president, is, again, right now. at least sort of. after indications that he might go it alone, after assertions that he could go it alone, president obama on saturday shocked everybody when he announced this decision about how to respond to syria's alleged use of chemical weapons against its own people, when he
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announced that decision about how to respond to it should be subject to debate by the united states congress. and now it is subject to debate by the united states congress. even though congress is staying classy with a "k" and technically staying on vacation until next week, the foreign relations committee in the senate cut short. they held an hours long contentious hearing drawing out the arguments, cross examining the witnesses, arguing with each other, making the case. there were protesters. there were unexpected hugs between former political rivals. there was shouting over one another. the debate has been joined. the debate is on. and that is very inconvenient for anyone who wants wars to be easy for a president to start at will. it is supposed to be hard. that is a feature, not a bug. there is a reason why the constitution put decisions about using military force in the hands of this unruly, slow-acting body of hundreds of people elected from all across
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the country. and it is the same reason why that constitution endures, for centuries now, and why guys like ed meese are laughed at and eventually forgotten by history. the debate is joined. that is good. that is as it is supposed to be. joining us now is senator ben cardin of maryland, a member of the foreign relations committee. senator cardin, thank you for being with us tonight. >> rachel, good to be with you. thank you. >> let me ask you about first of all the fact you are back in washington, you are back for this hearing and that this debate is happening in the senate at the president's request. are you happy with that? >> well, rachel, you're absolutely right. there's no more difficult decision for a member of congress to make than to authorize the use of military force. this is heart wrenching, in any circumstance. and clearly that's the case. so the debate we had today was meaningful. the resolution we will take up tomorrow will restrict the president's authority so that there are no ground troops. it will be limited in time. this hearing was an important
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hearing. the public debate is an important part of the process. so, yes, i was pleased that we had this hearing. i was pleased that we had the debate we had today. and there's clearly different views. but at the end of the day, i hope we can come together as a nation and speak with one voice and make it clear that we won't tolerate the use of chemical weapons like president assad used. >> senator cardin, there will be a vote tomorrow and presumably a vote in the full senate soon enough. you were described in press reports today as having been uncommitted, an unstated position on this heading into today's hearing. have you, in fact, decided which way you will vote tomorrow in committee? >> there's one more hearing tomorrow, a closed hearing which i want to hear the military information and support we have among other countries. it's clear to me that the use of military to stop this gross violation of human rights that we can't stand by and just say that president assad can use chemical weapons and, perhaps, even use other weapons of mass destruction.
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so i thought the administration made a strong case today. however, i want to make sure it's limited, it's focused, that this mission can many accomplished. i want to make sure we're not drawn into a broader conflict. and i want to make sure that we have adequate support internationally. i think at the end of the day, the administration's making the case, but that's exactly what was anticipated by our founding fathers to have this type of debate when time permits in the united states congress. >> senator, i feel like a lot of energy has been spent, and there was a lot of excellent argument today in both directions about whether or not the united states, even acting alone, has the responsibility to essentially enforce and police this international norm against the use of chemical weapons. i feel like that argument has been well made and we're well joined on that argument. what i'm feeling is less convincing or maybe there's less debate about it in the specific is whether or not u.s. military action would actually stop assad from using chemical weapons again, whether we would stop him either directly, physically, or
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whether it would have any sort of deterrent effect. >> i thought that secretary kerry made a very strong point today that the absence of action makes it much more likely that we will see chemical weapons used, again, by president assad. if no one stands up and says that he can't do that. how effective the military mission can be to deter and degrade syria's ability to use chemical weapons, we're going to get into the specifics of that tomorrow in a closed session, but the military says they have a plan and we're going to listen to that. i think it's a very valid issue for us to listen and see exactly how effective they can be in such a mission. clearly doing nothing encourages more use of chemical weapons and, perhaps, other weapons of mass destruction. >> senator, if congress votes on this both in the house and the senate and in either house the resolution is voted down and so the president does not receive the authorization for the use of military force that he is seeking. do you believe the president could or should proceed on his own with that no from congress at that point?
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>> let me first make it clear that the votes to either support or not support this resolution, each member of congress has to make their own judgment. it's a matter of conscience. it's a matter of what we think is in the best interest of the united states. this is a tough vote. any vote to authorize force. the president has certain inherent powers. i believe in the war power resolution. i believe that he should work with congress so we speak with one voice. so, but the president has certain inherent powers as commander in chief, and he can certainly exercise those powers. however, i think it's clear that by the passage of the war powers act, congress wants to be part
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of that decision-making process. rachel, i remember the debate we had on going into iraq. i voted against going into iraq. there the justification was whether iraq was involved in the attack on our country on 9/11 and we were talking about using ground troops. here we're talking about no ground troops and talking about preventing the use of chemical weapons. it's a different debate than we had in iraq. a lot of my constituents are calling saying this is another iraq. i don't think that's the case. >> senator ben cardin of maryland. thank you very much for your time tonight, sir. we feel lucky to have you here after this big day and another big day ahead tomorrow. thank you, sir. >> thank you, rachel. >> thank you. all right. much more to report tonight on syria including on specifics from the big senate hearing this afternoon where the case for military action was actually made. so we have lots ahead on syria. this debate is just getting started. it's a big deal that the debate is happening at all, but the quality of the debate thus far is heartening. also we have some news
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regarding voting in north carolina that you might not expect. that's coming up soon. pushing back works, at least sometimes. lots ahead tonight. stay with us. ♪ [ male announcer ] staying warm and dry has never been our priority. our priority is, was and always will be serving you, the american people. so we improved priority mail flat rate to give you a more reliable way to ship. now with tracking up to eleven scans, specified delivery dates, and free insurance up to $50 all for the same low rate. [ woman ] we are the united states postal service. [ man ] we are the united states postal service. [ male announcer ] and our priority is you. go to® and try it today. but you had to leave rightce to now, would you go? world, man: 'oh i can't go tonight' woman: 'i can't.' hero : that's what expedia asked me. host: book the flight but you have to go right now. hero: (laughs) and i just go? this is for real right? this is for real? i always said one day i'd go to china, just never thought it'd be today.
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feel like i have to get my book bag in order. in north carolina, students heading back to school were greeted today with a big one-finger salute from their new republican governor and legislature. in north carolina if you were 16 or 17 years old you could fill in a form now that would preregister you for voting. in civics class or through student government, through this long-standing popular used to be bipartisan supported citizenship education effort in north carolina, 16 and 17-year-olds could fill out their voter registration form ahead of time. so when they turned 18, they were registered to vote and good to go. good to go. not anymore. your republican-controlled state government just killed that program. you can't preregister to vote anymore. there were no reported problems with the program. there was no reported abuse of the program or fraud or
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anything. it was working just fine. so they killed it. and if you are looking for a clear difference of how and why elections matter, and what the differences between the two major political parties is right now, consider in the same week the republican controlled north carolina government killed that program to encourage young people in vote, in the same week, the democratic-controlled government of colorado enacted that same program that north carolina just killed. file this for reference the next time you see republicans scratching their heads and wondering why they're not attracting young people to their party. it's hard to tell people you want them to vote for you, while at the same time you're telling them you do not want them to vote. that said, there was some very unexpected, very surprising news out of north carolina today. some big pushback, some big backlash even against the republican rollback of voter rights in that state. including a really big and decisive victory for somebody who you met on this show.
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if you lose this case, it's going to be a big deal. >> it really is. >> no pressure. >> it really is. yeah. >> do you think any chance you're going to lose this case? >> i believe we're going to win. i really do. i'm optimistic that, you know,
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my attorneys have been working extremely, extremely hard, and i'm very confident in them and their capabilities and confident in the state board of elections. i really am. i believe in state board of elections. hey, you know, this is the law. i mean, how can you -- >> we have big news tonight. big developments in north carolina. where we have been covering the most aggressive push against voting rights anywhere in the country in a very long time. all right. the news tonight begins here in the town of boone, north carolina, which is home to appalachian state university. last year in the precincts in and around appalachian state they voted for barack obama 60-35. it was a bright blue part of a very narrowly red county. the republicans in north carolina, the college vote is a nuisance. it is maybe even a problem. and so when north carolina republicans got control this
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year of all the boards of elections across the state, they used that control immediately to do something about this pesky student voting by trying to make sure there could be less of it. they've not been subtle about this. last month the newly republican board in watauga voted to roll all three of the boone precincts into one superprecinct. north carolina elections guidance say precincts should have something like 1,500 people. the one they made in boone would have over 9,000 people in it. one big precinct. under the new plan, appalachian state student voters would cast their ballots not at the convenient polling place they've long had on campus, the one they're used to but instead at a single polling place down this long road with no sidewalk. >> got to be careful. this right here, this median or shoulder, actually, i'm sorry, is the sidewalk. there is no other place to walk, so it's either this median, or this shoulder or the tall grass. this is not a sidewalk at all. see here we actually have to step on the road. my shoes i'm wearing would not work with this at all. it's really not in good
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condition. it puts me very close to the road. and it's pretty much just not a good place to walk at all. i can currently put my feet forward and that's it. and it's getting smaller as we go. yeah, this is agricultural conference center right here. >> okay. >> and do note that if you look how small the parking lot is. >> wow. >> yeah. >> so the local republicans in watauga president put this superprecinct down this long road, a building with 30 parking places for 9,300 voters and most of parking places would be taken by the poll workers, themselves, so leaves ten parking spots for the 9,000-plus rest of you. good luck voting. the republican board decided to end early voting at appalachian state. today was the big day. today the state board of elections met to consider what happened in watauga county. with the hearing set for today, republicans on the county board folded. as reported in the "watauga democrat," republicans on the county board folded at least on
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one part of their plan, resending their proposal for the 9,300 precinct down the highway with the 30 parking spots. chair of the local republican board today told the big state board they were dropping that idea. no need to keep talking about it, please, can we let this go? the state board did vote to stop the early voting at appalachian state. they did say today they're open to bringing it back. for appalachian state, watauga county, no 9,000-person precinct and the no has been walked back to a maybe. we're covering one other story in north carolina with bigger implication and a big surprising development in that story as well. a couple weeks ago you recall we took this show to elizabeth city, north carolina, to cover the story of this young man named montravius king trying to run for city council in elizabeth city. he's a student at elizabeth city state university which is the locally historically black
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college. the chairman of the local county republican party has been challenging voters from that school. he got dozens of them purged off the voter rolls in april. then last month, he challenged the right of montravius king to run for city council in elizabeth city. he said because mr. king lived at school he couldn't be a real resident. going to college there doesn't count for a living there. and the real kicker is that the requirements for running for office are the same as the requirements for voting. so if college students in north carolina can be barred from running for office, can they also be barred from voting? the supreme court decided in 1979 students have the right to vote where they go to college. it's clear as day. if pasquotank county has this new precedent, would the
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precedent hold throughout north carolina? is it about voting rights in that county and north carolina, but other states, too? is this how republicans are going to play now? when we talked to king last month, he said he knew how much was riding on his case. he had already lost before the republican controlled local board of elections. now he was going to have to try again before the republican controlled state board of elections. against my skepticism, he insisted he was going to win. i can tell that you have the appetite for the fight. i cannot tell from talking to you whether you are just spinning me by saying you think you're going to win. >> oh. >> is that just like, oh, yeah, i'm confident? really, do you think you're going to win? >> i'm completely -- i
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absolutely optimistically sure i'm going to win. >> the local board, the local board is against you. the state board is republican-controlled. appointed by the governor who just rolled back voting rights further than any other state in the country since the voting rights act was passed in 1965. everything's stacked against you and you're like, i'm going to win. >> oh, yeah. i'm completely sure. i'm completely sure. and not only do i know that the students are behind me and support me, but i believe that a large number of people in the fourth ward are going to vote for me. i'm really sure about that. >> you are a man of great optimism. >> yeah. >> man, the deck is really stacked against you and there's montravius king, man of great optimism. today the state board of elections heard his case. they heard king's appeal. at that hearing the same local republican chairman told the board that mr. king had provided only papers from a check cashing place. not a regular bank account. he told them mr. king only had a part-time job. he said mr. king could not be a real resident. the board considering that
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challenge has three republican members and two democrats and sat through the testimony, not all of it looking good for king, and then they voted. >> do i hear a motion to reverse the order of the august 20th, 2013, the pasquotank board of elections and allow mr. king to run for office? >> i make that as a formal motion, too. >> is there a second? >> second. >> all those in favor say aye? >> aye. >> all those opposed. unanimous decision. mr. king, good luck with your race. [ applause ] >> good luck with your race, montravius king, regardless of how your bid for city council turns out, you won the race you really had to win for voting rights for you and for voting rights in all of north carolina and maybe for voting rights in a really big way. you say men are superior drivers?
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and helps plan for your retirement. talk to a pnc investments financial advisor today. ♪ watching the television screen with the announcement that any minute the president would make a statement, and i turned to him and said, i'll bet the missiles were launched and shot off hours ago and we'll hear about it now. and to my surprise, of course, the president came forward and said, i have that authority, i've made that decision, but i'm going to respect our constitutional democracy and give the congress, that is the american people through congress, a voice in this decision. from where i was standing, that was good news, because for as long as i've been in congress,
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house and senate, i've argued about that congressional responsibility. some presidents have respected it. some have not. most of the time congress, in writing or in speeches, insists on being respected and being given this authority and then starts shaking when it's given. because it calls on us to be part of historic life and death decisions. it's one of the toughest calls we'll ever make as members of congress, but i salute the president for respecting the constitution and giving us that responsibility. i think the turnout today on short notice in the midst of a break on this committee, mr. chairman and ranking member, is an indication that we're taking this seriously and solemnly. >> senator dick durbin speaking today. congress is not supposed to be in session right now, but there they were today. some of them at least. back to the capitol. on saturday, president obama called on congress to hold hearings on a potential military strike in syria. vacation over. there are 18 members on the senate foreign relations committee. today every one of them showed up for this hearing. that was the first step in the
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congress debating this military action. committee hearings almost always have at least a few empty seats but not this one. not today. 100% attendance. check this out. not only did every senator on the committee show up, so did a couple of senators who are not on the committee. west virginia senator joe manchin, conservative democrat, he was there today. he is not on the committee. he did not have to be there, but he attended anyway. he just sat in the room off the dais, watching the proceedings as an observer. an observer who felt it was important enough to be there to hear from the secretaries of defense and state and the chairman of the joint chiefs. also here's another one. i know he's hard to see in this picture so we added the arrow. i promise you at the end of that arrow, that is maine senator king, the independent. he was sitting behind the other senators where committee staff usually sit. he was also there to observe the proceedings today. he's not a committee member. he is just a senator who felt he needed to be there to be present to hear the arguments.
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today congress held its very first hearing on whether or not to authorize military action in syria. usually congress does everything possible to earn its terrible 9% approval rating. not today. if you're cynical about washington's ability to do its job, that is well-earned cynicism over time, but not today. joining us now is nbc news political reporter and producer kasie hunt who was at the hearing today. kasie, thanks very much for being with us. >> thanks for having me, rachel. >> in terms of the atmospherics and progress of today's hearing, can you just describe the scene in the committee room today? did it feel like a different event than congress at normal? >> there was a historical element to it. people were recalling when kerry, himself, testified years ago against the vietnam war before congress and he, in fact, referenced that himself when a protester yelled out, interrupted the proceedings and was escorted from the room. there's definitely a weighty sense up on capitol hill over the course of the past few days. i've actually been up there.
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i was there on sunday after they received their classified briefing and members were coming out with a great deal of skepticism initially. it's pretty clear now that they're coming to some sort of agreement. that's the committee on the -- the foreign relations committee actually reached bipartisan agreement, as you say, further evidence of them actually working together, getting along, moving forward. they released it tonight. it's more limited than what the white house had initially proposed over the weekend. it prohibits combat operations and it only lasts for 60 days. the president can ask for another 30-day extension if he wants to. this was really a record turnaround time for something like this. you saw menendez and corker start negotiations almost immediately. a lot of times when we're dealing with big issues on capitol hill, it takes a long time for coalitions to form. you remember immigration, health care. all of these gangs. the gangs don't usually come together until the game is
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pretty far down the field already. this happened overnight pretty much as far as congress goes. >> the president has said that he is open to congress changing up the language. the proposed draft for the authorization for use of military force. he says that would not be a game changer. obviously the historical precedent here is that when congress is asked to authorize military force, they almost always say yes. has there been any discussion of whether the president would act to take action against syria even if congress said no and how congress might react to that? >> that was a point of some contention at the hearing today actually. senator rand paul in particular said, challenged secretary of state john kerry essentially saying is this all a show? are you just sort of pretending that this actually matters when, in fact, you've already made up your mind to strike no matter what? and paul tried to get john kerry to answer a question of whether or not the president would still have the power to strike in the
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event congress says no considering the constitution tee declares congress has the power to declare war. congress said definitively even if congress votes this down, the president still has the constitutional authority to strike. there's no question, though, were a congress voted down and obama to proceed anyway, it would be an extraordinarily difficult moment. i would say over the course of the last 12 or so hours, you've heard senators moving in the direction starting to absorb the administration's argument that doing nothing really would put the credibility of the united states on the line. so i think that there are some key voices that are starting to come around. you saw major jewish groups today come out and say that they want to support the president which could be a key factor up on the hill. you also saw both nancy pelosi and john boehner in the house coming out and saying that they support strikes and it's really very rare that a vote has not -- that's had support from both of those leaders has not ultimately gone through the house. the bailout vote, the t.a.r.p. vote, is one exception to that. the first t.a.r.p. vote.
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otherwise the across the board point to this going through. now, whether or not they can negotiate still rocky waters between now and next week remains to be seen. >> nbc news political reporter and producer kasie hunt on day one of the debate that i'm looking forward to every day of. thank you very much. appreciate it. >> thanks, rachel. all right. news from virginia today. and also from the distopian fake future in which a recent election went the other way. and the convicted cleveland kidnapper has committed suicide. he was found hanging in his prison cell at around 9:20 tuesday night. medical staff performed cpr on him and he was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. he was sentenced to life in
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here's the pile of lute we've known about so far. virginia governor bob mcdonnell and his family have taken so far from one guy. $15,000 catered chicken dinner, $6,500 rolex watch. $so,000 oscar de la renta jacket.
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designer shoes. designer dress. thousands of dollars of trips on a private jet. trips in the white ferrari. check for $50,000 made out to a corporate entity owned by the government and his sister. a check for another $50,000 made out to the governor's wife and check for $10,000 made out to one of the governor's daughters. all from one guy. now apparently because that is not enough stuff and because this story never ends, there's now more to add to the pile. there's also a trip paid for for the governor's daughter and a friend to fly to florida for a vacation last labor day weekend. also the same last labor day weekend, private airfare and five-night stay for the governor and his wife at this lovely spot, a swanky hotel in chatham on cape cod. no, wait, there's more. also now a reported $7,000 worth of golf equipment and golf
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games. the "washington post" describes as elite richmond area country clubs. those were enjoyed by the governor and his twin sons and the governor's staff. the reason we know about at least the golf and cape cod trip is because the virginia businessman who gave all these things to bob mcdonnell and his family, he expensed it with his company. he got reimbursed by his company for the gifts he bought for the governor and his company and the company paid reimbursement for the things because they were business expenses. they were expenses expected to be redowned to that company. and that was kind of the whole thing, they knew it was paid for. apparently if you are the subject of a federal bribery investigation, a corruption investigation as a public official, you and your lawyers
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get to go meet with the prosecutors to try to talk them out of charging you. i didn't know that was the way it goes. but virginia governor bob mcdonnell and his wife, they have already met with the federal prosecutors to try to talk his way out of jail, under the federal law is that says you can't trade with a public official for personal gift, cash or otherwise, sources tell "the washington post" that governor mcdonnell's big defense was ignorance, it turns out that the governor was there in the room in front of a crowd of other arranged and publicly offered to his wife. this whole thing is getting harder for governor mcdonnell who now gets to go back for a second round of pleading and begging. as late as september 15. everybody keeps say the prosecutors don't want to make any move to close to the election because they don't want to effect affect the election.
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learn more at an experiment, how many wars do you think we would have been over the last five years if john mccain had been elected in 2008 instead of barack obama? i mean, talk about elections have consequences, right? >> that old beach boy song, bombeeran -- >> anyway, when he was in the
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middle of his presidential campaign he sang the bomb iran song. that became part of the john mccain effort to get president obama to intervene more in iran, what could possibly go wrong? senator john mccain has also been on the war path for georgia, georgia in 2008 fought a war with russia. if they were in a war with russia, john mccain wanted us to get involved in that war, as well. >> subject to russia, that involves the attack. i know i speak for every american when i say to him today we are all georgians. >> will you put the map up, what could have been john mccain wars? bomb, bomb, bomb iran, on their side, russia, oh wait, there is more, there is the war in libya,
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even though john mccain is not president. but if mr. john mccain had his way, it would have been the united states doing that whole thing on his own. >> if it is our policy that moammar gadhafi must go, then it seems that some action must be taken. they are not a formidable force, we are the strongest nation in the world. we should be able to take care of their defenses as well as their air assets without too much difficulty. >> shouldn't be too much difficulty, so john mccain wars in georgia, russia, libya, anywhere else? senator, could have been president john mccain? >> some u.s. forces, approximately 20,000 should remain for a period of time to help the iraqis secure the hard-earned gains that we had made together. >> i would be very reluctant to reduce the surge troops.
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>> under president john mccain we would have been in two wars, in iran, libya, russia, we still would be in iraq and would not be planning on leaving afghanistan, that is where he said he was against ending the surge and reducing the troop numbers. and now, of course, senator mccain gets another chance in front of the cameras, where we wait in suspense. it would be a catastrophe if congress votes no, he said, and also he might vote no. the president's military action is not big enough, it is all war, more war, for senator john mccain or he would cast a vote that he says would be catastrophic for the country, go to war in syria or the country gets it. john mccain ran for president in 2008 under the theme "country first." he lost that election, he lost
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that election, he lost. and so we do not live in the world he would create if he ever had a chance to. oh, my god, do elections have consequences. i wonder how vice president sarah palin would be contributing to the debate. that does it for us, we'll see you tomorrow night. now it is time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. the president has just left for the g 20 summit in russia as the debate continues in syria. and we have breaking news about the wording of that congressional resolution on the intervention in syria. >> the president is not asking you to go to war. >> all eyes will be on capitol hill. >> that is not what the president is asking for her. >> as secretaries kerry and hagel head to the hills to